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Aged between 5 and 18 years, young carers help look after one or more members of their family - usually mum, dad, brother, sister or grandparent.  Sometimes they are the only (primary) carer.


The young carer may have to deal with a range of situations, such as disability, chronic illness, mental health difficulties or problems with drugs or alcohol misuse.


They may be taking on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that an adult would normally do.  It might include lifting someone who is immobile, giving emotional support to a parent with a mental illness or addiction or caring for a sibling.

If you think you're a young carer see the different ways to contact us on our home page . . . get in touch with us now and we'll be happy to listen

With the risk of social isolation, bullying, school attendance problems, and physical and mental ill health themselves, young carers can often find life tiring, worrying and lonely.

You're a young carer if you . . .

Jade's Story

Who are young carers?

Most recent surveys and reports

The largest and latest research into young carers and young adult carers is from the 2011 Census, plus other surveys by The Children's Society and the BBC.


The Census showed that 166,363 children in England were caring for their parents, siblings and family members.  This is up one fifth from the 2001 Census.  


Nearly 15,000 children up to the age of 17 were providing more than 50 hours of care every week.


There was a 19% increase in the number of young carers aged under 18, and an 83% increase in the number of 5-7 year olds providing care.


The Children's Society released a report at the same time as the Census, analysing government tracking of 15,000 children across England.  The report, "Hidden from View" revealed:

Young carers are one and a half times more likely to have a special educational need or a long-standing illness or disability


One in 12 young carers is caring for more than 15 hours per week


Around one in 20 miss school because of their caring responsibilities


Young carers have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level


Young carers are more than one and a half times more likely to be from a minority ethnic community and twice as likely to not speak English as their first language


The average annual income for families with a young carer is £5000 less than families without.


Young carers are more likely than the national average to be 'not in education, employment or training' (NEET) between 16 and 19.


The BBC's research in 2010 revealed there are likely to be four times more young carers in the UK than are officially recognised, estimated to be about 700,000.

Teen Boy on staircase


. . .  help care for a family member who has a physical or learning disability, chronic illness, mental health, alcohol or substance mis-use problem or HIV/AIDS


. . . are aged between 5 and 18 years